Monso Hair Design Tokyo @ River Valley Rd

3.3(6 reviews)
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Where To Find Them


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How Much Do They Cost


  • Hairdressing by Japanese Hairstylists
  • Generally satisfactory haircuts
  • Comfortable hair massage
  • Cozy environment in a hotel
  • Attentive service from hairstylists with beverages and magazines offered


  • It might not be that easy to communicate in English
  • More expensive than other salons

What Other People Say

Loving It


April 22, 2014

Pros & Cons


- friendly staff

- cosy salon

- allows u to charge ur mobile or gadgets while ure doing ur hair.

- wide selection of complimentary beverages

- good hair treatment outcomes


- not quite accessible to mrt/bus. U gotta walk quite a distance from the UE Square main road

- just like some of the previous reviews, the stylists may not be particularly good w haircuts which is pretty disappointing because that shld be their main skill.

- expensive considering I left the shop w not much visible change to my hairstyle.


Review not yet verified

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.

jeasey guy

July 29, 2013

Worst haircut in my life

got worst haircut in my life in here. Skillful? No. Those japanese hairstylists are overrated. paying over 70? I only got discomfort still lasting for next couple of not go


Review not yet verified

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.

Grace Tam

January 25, 2013

Cosy and private place!

Update: 25 Jan 2013
I am still with Monso Hair Design and it has been 3 years+ I believe. In between, due to budget issues, I visited other salons for a hair cut but in the end I still went back to Soga-san for hair-cut.

Reason why I’m sticking with Soga-san: Till now, he still layers very well without overdoing it. He is open to feedback and if you’re unhappy with certain aspect, do let him know and I’m sure he will try his best to make things work. Lastly, he does the best hair drying job ever and gives you soft, natural waves without using a hair curling tong!

However, do note that Monso does not use strong hair dyes hence they are unable to give you loud colours such as bright red/pink.

By the way, I mentioned in my 2009 review that he might not be good with short hair but guess what, I’m sporting a chin length bob for 6 months already and many have asked me where did I have my hair done 

My view: I guess a haircut is very personalized and a stylist will not be suitable for everyone since the shape of our head and hair texture is different. So, despite a few negative reviews, we should be open to new hairstylists till you find the right one!

If you are intending to try out Monso for the first time, do quote my name Grace Tam to get 15% off!

1st Review: 2 Sep 2009
i’ve been with soga-san for 4 months.. from shunji to monso. Yes, there was a 20% discount till end August. Ladies cut $75, color $130 onwards.. Soga-san likes long hair so i guess since earlier another podder say her colleague has short hair, look for monma san if you are the latter?

I love their layering as its not those wispy kind that i hate. Soga-san speaks pretty gd english, not sure about Monma-san though. Both of them are friendly peeps

Cosy and private place! Do give it a try if u have $ to spare. It is still exp for me. haa


Review Approved by Beauty Undercover

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.

Blog Review

November 22, 2012

Avoid Monso

Just back from Monso. The most recent review you’ll find online (for now) for this salon.

The last haircut I had (by QB) was on 20 July. That’s… 4 months ago. Since then, my hair has grown hot in this weather. Bro called it a “mane”.

I know this hairstyle suits Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun Joong) because he has a long and narrow face. And my face is different. But I want this style. Korean boyband look.

I know I complained previously, about Celia (@Reds Taka always creating a boyband look on me, but now, I want it. She has a knack for creating volume and body for my hair. I don’t know if the style turns heads the moment I walk out of the salon because it’s nice, or because it’s not. But right now, I want that boyband style!!

Ergo. I started searching for Korean hair salons online. Turns out Singapore does have a few… Beautyundercover reviewed the best 10 (Very helpful as it collates reviews from blogs and forums and makes it easy to read in 1 website).

3 salons to consider based on budget and reviews: La Coco, Izumi, Monso.

La Coco was tempting because I saw a poster of Korean stars that the salon presumably did hair for. Among the stars, was a smiling Lee Min Ho (Gu Jun Pyo from Boys Over Flowers). However, the negative reviews from Beautyundercover were plenty and it was off-putting to read that it was going to be hit-and-miss if I chose to go there.

Izumi… @ Clarke Quay Central was nearer for me. Korean stylist said to have spent time in the US, now in SG. No strongly negative reviews.

Monso… I didn’t know where Gallery hotel was, but I could take a cab. Japanese stylists. Sincere English introduction by the director Mr Soga as a stylist in their Japanese website. Positive reviews for haircut (although quite a few negative for perms, including what are called “dead” perms).

To be honest, I don’t expect Japanese/Korean hairstylists to be very creative or impressive. Their fashion styles… are not very modern, hip or cool. But who knows if there might be exceptions, although doubtful.

As I was going to Meidi-ya supermarket @ Liang Court, I dropped by Izumi to have a look. I had no intention of spending $90 for a short haircut.

There was only 1 hairstylist (presumably Izumi herself) tending to 1 customer who looked Korean/Japanese. Small shop, no hair-washing ladies. I stood outside for a while, watching from a spot that they couldn’t see. Then I left.

It seemed the stylist was adding the finishing touches to the customer’s hair. But the hairstyle looked like nothing had been done to it. Japanese housewife style. Yeah, maybe the customer likes it that way, but I can’t imagine the stylist being able to do anything special for me.

After coming home from Meidi-ya, I felt I was really in the mood for a haircut. Bro got hauled off on government service, leaving me needing some loving.

So, called Monso to ask if Mr Soga was available in 1 hr’s time.

Was quite excited, smiled to myself at home at the thought of Japanese director cutting my hair.

It was going to be $85, regardless of hair length. (I had wanted to ask about GST on the phone but didn’t because I didn’t want to sound broke.).

What was the review going to be when I came home? Hmmm…. I hoped to be able to say good things about it, but doubtful, considering the disappointments of other salons before this.

Cabbed to Gallery Hotel. Salon is at the back of the hotel.

I loved the look at the entrance. Welcoming.

Glass doors at a corner slant, through which I saw 2 men attending to a seated lady customer. One tall guy, presumably the director, and a thinner, shorter man.

I was 20 mins early and wondered if the director would have time for me. Popped my head in until they looked up at me with curious, polite smiles. I saw their seated lady customer had pretty, long hair. She was the only customer sitting there.

I said I was early but I think they didn’t get that, so I said it again, before both of them started walking to me.

I stepped in and thinking that maybe they didn’t get what I meant by “I’m early”, I mentioned my name, so Mr Soga would know I was the one who called earlier.

Although the Japanese man who answered didn’t say he was Mr Soga even when he asked what time I would be there, right away I had thought I was speaking to the man himself (on the phone). His voice and the way he spoke, matched his look in the photo in their website. Very nice and professional.

Right away, I loved the ambience. Homey/cozy/snug feeling. Like a little corner tucked away in a quiet part of town. Nice place. Good decor.

Since I was early, I thought I would be put in a waiting chair. But to my surprise, Mr Soga attended to me right away with a firm and friendly voice, asking what I would like him to do for my hair as he led me to the first seat in front of a huge golden-framed mirror leaning against the wall.

On my left, was a side table with 2 magazines.

“Something different, ” I said, to which he smiled. “Fresh, young…” (I just feel very tired and sleepy with long and floppish hair).

We discussed a little about what might be done.

Different from other stylists, he didn’t touch my hair at all, until it was washed. Other stylists would feel my hair first while discussing the style to cut.

Unfortunately, he didn’t quite know what I meant by Korean boyband sides or style. “Big Bang?”, he asked, to which I smiled a little uncertainly while the thinner, shorter guy (who was the hairwasher) smiled behind us.

Since I had read a little about the SM Town Korean pop groups coming to SG and was looking up on K-pop bands yesterday, I knew Big Bang was one of them. But I don’t know the guys of the group, although an image of a bleach-blonde guy’s head of hair came to mind. Neither did I print out a pic of Ji Hoo.

Too bad I assumed a Japanese stylist might know what a Korean boyband style would look like.

But, he said he would try (to create the sides like what I described).

The hairwash was Ok. A vertical piece of white/beige cloth was placed over my eyes till my mouth. I folded it up above my nose, so it wouldn’t block my breathing.

It was nice that the guy asked if the pressure of his fingers was Ok.

In one review, someone said there was a Chinese washer who scraped scalp like peeling oranges. I was concerned I would get him (A reason why I was considering going to Izumi more). But this guy was very gentle.

Too gentle, in fact, but Ok. Would be better if he put in a little more strength in a more sensuous massage.

Reds @Taka washing ladies are still the best.

At the end of the wash, I told him it was nice and thanked him. I did wish it would go on for a little longer as it was quite nice.

When I got back to my seat and the white sheet was placed around my neck (with 2 openings for arms), the hair-washing guy presented a list of drinks. I chose hot green tea.

The haircut took about 25 mins. Throughout, I was slowly perusing a magazine, while being aware of Mr Soga’s movements. He is tall and rather handsome (too bad about his own long frizzy hair).

Dog tags hanging from his necklace clinked together as he moved while cutting. (I have a small fondness for cool-looking men with clinking things.).

At one point, while he was sitting, he turned my chair closer towards him to the left until he could properly cut my fringe. I was reading the magazine, and it wasn’t too near. But I tend to get a little shy when male stylists come closer.

But I realized he seemed a rather shy person as well, quickly glancing away when I looked up from the magazine to the mirror at him (to see how he was cutting).

I like that he handled everything himself, except for the hair wash.

There were 2 more stylists there. A woman and a young man, presumably Chika-san and Ito-san. And 1 or 2 more customers came in soon after me.

The result: I like the service and ambience. Perfect. The green tea was also very solid, loved it, good stuff.

But overall, the haircut is not proportionate/lop-sided.

The back end is short, the sides are wispy and long, the front is long and floppish.

The front fringe is supposed to look like Choi Young’s (Lee Min Ho) slanted down cut, but that’s not what I got.

The top was not cut because according to Mr Soga, not cutting adds volume. But other stylists always cut it shorter to add volume since shorter hair has more bounce and body (though unfortunately, they always cut it too short).

The back end, I felt was too short and ragged when he showed me with a mirror behind. Seeing my hesitation in giving approval, he looked worried. I had to try to see it as interestingly as possible and grant approval since I didn’t know how else I could tell him to improve on it. Almost wanted to say “Omoshiroi” in Japanese for “interesting” but didn’t because it wasn’t really true. (At the moment, it’s not too bad if it’s swept towards the middle).

For the back end, I had actually granted him creative freedom, although I had expressed a suggestion to perhaps keep it at the original length. He had insisted it was too long, so I said he could do whatever he felt would be good.

The back upper portion, does have some body in the way it is cut. So, that is Ok.

At the end, he had asked if I wanted to add color. I said no, and he gave an audible smile.

The hairsprays smelled nice (assuming they are from Japan), but have no holding power at all.

Overall, I don’t hate this haircut since there isn’t much drastic damage (the saving grace, since it would grow quite soon so I can seek out another salon). But… $85 is a lot for the result (that looks more like $35). And there wasn’t any first-timers discount for me.

He gave me a membership card which he stamped and didn’t require my name or signature at all. Also, a “Customer introduce card” to be given to a friend or anyone to receive a first-timer discount.

So, if I understand it correctly… As a first-timer who came on my own, I don’t get a discount. But a friend introduced by me, would get the discount?? Or do I get a discount on my next visit?

He asked how I got to know of the salon. I said through website reviews. It was only later that I realized he must actually be asking if I was introduced by someone.

Anyway… I most likely won’t be going back, partly because of the location.

I read that Midori @ Novena is good. But Novena is too far for me. To think of the distance and then being disappointed once more… Maybe I’ll just let it grow long again…. and cut it myself. I have been quite tempted to buy a pair of haircutting scissors from Medi-ya.

Or if I’m still interested in getting Ji Hoo’s look… I might make the effort of trying out another salon next time. I’ve already saved screenshots of his style to print and show.

Although it feels less hot and heavy now, $85… is still…. a pity, especially when I’m broke. I had to dig out $85 from somewhere. And while the number is just a number, when you take out 1 piece $50, and have to take out another $50 to make it enough, you start realizing how much it really costs.

I don’t know how those girls can spend more than $400 just on a perm and coloring in those salon reviews.

The right way, is actually to spend little, so that if it’s awful, at least it won’t be so painful. Unfortunately, hair salons in SG are ridiculously expensive, just like SG hotels.

Hey… looking at the receipt now… Turns out Mr Soga can spell my name!! O.O I’m impressed and surprised. I thought he didn’t know the name since I didn’t expect the Japanese to be familiar with English names.

Update @ 10.49 a.m. 23 Nov: Still not happy with the haircut when I looked in the mirror this morning. Looks like didn’t cut.

Some time back, I had actually tried Shunji Matsuo @ Heeren once (now @Taka). Was cut by a non-Japanese stylist who was very careful and precise. But the end result was too short and not nice. So, I haven’t been to any Shunji outlets again since then.

So far, if I try 1 hairstylist and it’s bad, I don’t go back to the same salon or outlets of that salon.


Credits: This is a review reproduced with permission from a blog.

Read the original blog article here.

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.

Blog Review

May 27, 2011

My recent hairstyles changes

this is my JAPAN-HAIRCUT that has become longer.

still very nice! <333
thank you kita-san~

*purposely combing my fringe down*
but still loving it..

when for a
short fringe and more layers =D
this is when i just blow dried my hair. hehehe.

then i dyed n cut my hair at Monso Hair Design Tokyo
and did a treatment too! <3 HEHEHE
streaks of highlights
more ashy now.
more layered! hahahaha


Credits: This is a review obtained from a blog.

Read the original blog article here.

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.

Blog Review

July 24, 2010







monso HAIR DESIGN tokyo


Credits: This is a review obtained from a blog.

Read the original blog article here.

This review represents the subjective opinion of the Beauty Undercover reviewer and not of Beauty Undercover.